In a surprise statement, Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Deputy Prime Minister, Eamon Gilmore, said Ireland would respond positively if Pope Benedict made a state visit.
Gilmore was addressing the Foreign Affairs Committee on the closure of embassies in the Vatican, Timor and Iran.
He took the opportunity to re-state that the reason for closing these embassies was cost-saving and should be seen against a background of Ireland’s diminishing resources.
No mention was made of the cost involved in hosting the Pope, should he decide to make a state visit.
Gilmore’s political opponent, Fianna Fail’s Seán Ó Fearghail, said the decision to close the Vatican embassy was a mistake which had hurt many people.
News category: World.